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Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued

Related threads:
Documentary on Elizabeth Cronin (11)
The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin (51)


Jim Carroll 14 Dec 07 - 04:04 AM
Kevin Sheils 14 Dec 07 - 04:16 AM
Big Mick 14 Dec 07 - 05:30 AM
Richard Spencer 14 Dec 07 - 05:37 AM
Gulliver 14 Dec 07 - 06:15 AM
dick greenhaus 14 Dec 07 - 12:38 PM
Malcolm Douglas 14 Dec 07 - 06:42 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 14 Dec 07 - 06:47 PM
Big Mick 14 Dec 07 - 09:09 PM
Jim Carroll 15 Dec 07 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,Mike O'Leary-Johns 15 Dec 07 - 10:19 AM
Mary Humphreys 17 Dec 07 - 02:50 PM
The Sandman 17 Dec 07 - 05:24 PM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 07 - 02:55 AM
The Sandman 18 Dec 07 - 04:37 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Dec 07 - 09:56 AM
Homeboy 18 Dec 07 - 02:55 PM
The Sandman 18 Dec 07 - 04:13 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 07 - 03:33 AM
Homeboy 19 Dec 07 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Russ 19 Dec 07 - 11:28 AM
The Sandman 19 Dec 07 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,Russ 19 Dec 07 - 01:14 PM
Homeboy 19 Dec 07 - 01:19 PM
Jim Carroll 19 Dec 07 - 02:58 PM
The Sandman 19 Dec 07 - 03:41 PM
dick greenhaus 19 Dec 07 - 05:03 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 19 Dec 07 - 08:20 PM
The Sandman 20 Dec 07 - 04:57 AM
GUEST,Iwavva 21 Dec 07 - 09:12 AM
Jim Carroll 21 Dec 07 - 02:57 PM
Jim McLean 21 Dec 07 - 04:38 PM
GUEST,Russ 21 Dec 07 - 04:41 PM
Big Mick 21 Dec 07 - 04:49 PM
Gulliver 21 Dec 07 - 10:51 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Dec 07 - 03:29 AM
Jim McLean 22 Dec 07 - 11:12 AM
The Sandman 22 Dec 07 - 12:48 PM
GUEST 22 Dec 07 - 02:29 PM
Nerd 22 Dec 07 - 02:38 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Dec 07 - 03:26 PM
Nerd 22 Dec 07 - 07:13 PM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 07 - 04:32 AM
Folkiedave 23 Dec 07 - 05:19 AM
Richard Spencer 23 Dec 07 - 11:08 AM
The Sandman 23 Dec 07 - 11:55 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Dec 07 - 03:48 PM
Richard Spencer 24 Dec 07 - 09:11 AM
Big Mick 24 Dec 07 - 09:13 AM
dick greenhaus 24 Dec 07 - 12:24 PM
Jim Carroll 28 Dec 07 - 03:42 PM
The Sandman 28 Dec 07 - 05:06 PM
dick greenhaus 28 Dec 07 - 06:21 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Dec 07 - 07:11 PM
Jim Carroll 29 Dec 07 - 04:01 AM
Jim Gillan 16 Jan 08 - 09:07 AM
GUEST,Russ 16 Jan 08 - 01:25 PM
dick greenhaus 16 Jan 08 - 08:08 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 08 - 02:55 AM
Jim Carroll 17 Jan 08 - 03:27 AM
MartinRyan 17 Jan 08 - 04:20 AM
Jim Gillan 17 Jan 08 - 04:37 AM
The Sandman 17 Jan 08 - 07:46 AM
GUEST,Russ 17 Jan 08 - 11:55 AM
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Subject: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 04:04 AM

For anybody who missed it the first time around, the book and two CDs of   The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin, which were lovingly assembled by her grandson Dáibhí ó Cróinín and published in 2000 has been out-of-print for some years and is virtually impossible to obtain second-hand.
I have just heard that the publishers, Four Courts Press, are intending to re-publish it in an extended form.
Mrs Cronin was one of the most important traditional singers of the 20th century, and this collection, which gives a remarkable insight into a remarkable singer, is a must for anybody remotely interested in traditional singing.
The CDs alone were well worth the original published price.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Elizabeth Cronin
From: Kevin Sheils
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 04:16 AM

Thanks Jim

I'll look out for it having missed my chance first time round.

Kevin


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Subject: RE: Elizabeth Cronin
From: Big Mick
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 05:30 AM

I have it from the first time around. It is an amazing work, and one of the treasures of my collection. Give serious consideration to this one.

Thanks, Jim, for letting us know this.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Elizabeth Cronin
From: Richard Spencer
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 05:37 AM

Scarily enough, I was just listening to cd1 when this thread came up. I can't recommend this strongly enough - fabulous singing.
here


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Gulliver
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 06:15 AM

Thanks for the info--that sounds great!

Don


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 12:38 PM

CAMSCO will carry it as soon as it's released.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 06:42 PM

A message has recently been circulated on various discussion lists on behalf of Dáibhí Ó Cróinín which gives the impression that, although he is working on a revised edition, publication is not yet a 'done deal'. He feels that it may be helpful if people who would be interested in a new edition were to contact Four Courts Press to enquire about it. Obviously, if they know that there is likely to be a demand, they are more likely to go ahead with the project.

This isn't an attempt to pressure the publisher; merely to ensure that they know there are people out there who will want to buy the product if they take the financial risk of issuing it. I will certainly want one, as I expect will plenty of others. Four Courts can be emailed at

info@fourcourtspress.ie


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 06:47 PM

Jim

Do you know how extended this edition is likely to be? I have the original edition and would only be interested if there was some significant change in a new edition.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Big Mick
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 09:09 PM

Same here.

The other Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 15 Dec 07 - 03:41 AM

Mick and Mick,
Sorry - no I don't.
I'll try and get some information and pass it on if I do.
I do know that the author has access to a great deal of information on Mrs Cronin and other family members, including material collected by his father and recordings of his uncle Michael Cronin.
He was, I believe, put off by a rather unpleasant review of the Mrs Cronin book.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: GUEST,Mike O'Leary-Johns
Date: 15 Dec 07 - 10:19 AM

Thanks for the info,JIm.I had it first time round.But would certainly interested in an "Extended" edition.Mike
Hope you are keeping well.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 17 Dec 07 - 02:50 PM

I have emailed Four Courts Press, who say that they have no plans to re- issue this. They recommended that I speak directly to the author or try to get a second-hand copy.
Oh dear, that is a great shame.
Mary


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Dec 07 - 05:24 PM

Jim,
I am sorry to hear he was put off by an unpleasant review.
I think that reviews often tell the public more about the reviewer,than the recording/book that is supposed to have been reviewed.
I had the great fortune to find an LP of Elizabeth Cronin,in Skibbereen library,it was a delight,.wonderful singing and interesting repertoire.
when I was up Kilmicheal way,I had the good fortune to meet a relative of hers, who was also a fine singer.
It is very sad her relatives were put off by this unpleasant review,however I cant blame them ,I am sure I would feel the same way myself.
Once upon a time, I believed that all people who purported to want to promote the music of traditional singers ,really did want to do that,sadly it might appear, that this is not always the case.
Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 07 - 02:55 AM

Mary,
Sorry to hear that - I don't really know what the information I received was about - nor Malcolm Douglas's.
I did hear that somebody else had plans to issue his own version of the work, but knowing the individual concerned, I sincerely hope not.
Cap'n,
You've said it all really - but you should be careful; you could find yourself on the receiving end of poison-pen letters, threats of legal action, (and even of violence) - been there, done that, got the happy memories.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 07 - 04:37 AM

JIM, I am at present receiving abusive emails on my web site,One of them purporting to be from Eliza Carty,obviously it wasnt.
I have also received a threat of legal action,I have no idea if the two are connected,.
I havent lost any sleep over the abusive E mails.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Dec 07 - 09:56 AM

Cap'n,
Sounds familiar.
Don't lose any sleep over it - if it's who I suspect it is, he's not the sharpest needle in the sewing box.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Homeboy
Date: 18 Dec 07 - 02:55 PM

I wish I had heard Mrs Cronin in her prime but only have the book and CDs courtesy of Dick at Camsco. Its sad that the publisher doesnt want to listen.

Im very interested in this LP that Captain Birdseye mentions. Has it been made avialable on CD or as mp3 files and were can I buy a copy?


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: The Sandman
Date: 18 Dec 07 - 04:13 PM

Homeboy,as far as I remember,they were recordings made by Seamus Ennis for the BBC Circa 1954 on vinyl,The song Lord Gregory,was on it,next time Im in Skibbereen library ,I will make enquiries.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 07 - 03:33 AM

As far as I know there was never a full record of Elizabeth Cronin, though she did appear in numerous anthologies.
Topic had plans at one time to issue an album of her and Brigid Tunney (another superb, if much neglected singer), but that never got off the ground.
The only complete cds of Mrs Cronin are the two that came with the book, which makes the book's unavailability even more of a loss.
Who knows, maybe now the Kennedy collection has become available some enterprising soul..........
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Homeboy
Date: 19 Dec 07 - 11:17 AM

Thankyou for your help Jim and Captain.

I've checked the book and there is no mention of a 1954 LP. However I think the Captain might be refering to the Alan Lomax LP Folk Songs of England, Ireland, Scotland + Wales which came out in 1955. I have this on CD and it does include Mrs Cronin singing Lord Gregory.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 19 Dec 07 - 11:28 AM

The negative review being referred to appeared on the Musical Traditions website.

I felt that the review was pointlessly vitriolic and protested to Rod at the time.

I am not unhappy with but not surprise by the repercussions.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 07 - 01:03 PM

at the present moment, I have no water,I have a bathroom window that has blown out.
when I am sorted I will check again for you I am sure it was a vinyl lp of just Mrs Cronin,and am sure it was recorded by Seamus Ennis,when he was working for the BBC.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 19 Dec 07 - 01:14 PM

I meant to say:
I am not happy with the repercussions, but I am not surprised by the results of a negative review.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Homeboy
Date: 19 Dec 07 - 01:19 PM

Captain sorry to hear about your window and lack of water. My question can wait until you're back in business again.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 19 Dec 07 - 02:58 PM

Cap'n,
All the BBC recordings done in the 50s we kept on 12 inch vinyl discs.
Would be interested to know if your library has copies of these, it being in Mrs Cronin's home county.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Dec 07 - 03:41 PM

JIM,I will check it out,
I remember Seamus Ennis,describing how hospitable Mrs Cronin was,he introduced himself and said I am from the BBC,she replied I dont care if your from the ABC,your very welcome here.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 19 Dec 07 - 05:03 PM

At least some of the recordings that accompanied the book were made by Jean Ritchie.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 19 Dec 07 - 08:20 PM

Thanks, Dick. I haven't been checking out Mudcat lately, so just found this thread. Was wondering why nobody remembered our (myself & husband George) contributions to the Cronin book. I think there's a long thread about it, written just after the book's publication). In 1952 I had a Fulbright Scholarship to trace the sources of our family songs in the British Isles and Ireland. We had about a week's visit with Elizabeth Cronin who was staying at that time with her sister in Lisbee Muir, near Macroom. They gave us a warm and wonderful welcome, played music and sang, danced, took us to a wedding-in-straw as guests, made ceilidhs, told stories, listened to my Kentucky songs and stories, made us feel so much at home- what a week! And what memories we still have of those dear folks and good times.

When we got home we sent several sheets of bxw contact sheets of many of the photos which George had taken, to Bess and to her sister also. Years later, Bess's grandson Daibhi O'Cronin, a college professor, visited and saw the photos. Excited, he wrote to us and had us send some photos to him. We sent many more of our photos, and included some of the taped music also. He was thrilled with them, and he and his family came to this country and spent time in our home, examining all we had done. When he returned home he arranged that the James Hardiman Library, at the University in Galway, should acquire our collection of taped music and all the pictures taken in Ireland during that year. This became the Ritchie-Pickow Archive at that Library, and it's our understanding that it is on loan as an exhibit to be had by any school or art institution throughout Ireland.

Meanwhile, Daibhi did his book about his grandmother, Bess Cronin, using what he needed of George's 1952-53 photographs, and our tapes of the songs that Bess and others sang for us. Daibhi was much impressed with the quality of the photography and the sound. We used the first portable tape recorder of good quality, Magnacorder. George carried the recorder and I carried the speaker, when we had to walk. Each weighed about fifty pounds- the speaker was a bit lighter.
George's cameras I think were Rolliflex and Canon, the small ones, and a larger one whose name I forget- will find out if anyone wants to know, but his pictures were sharp and clear, and well composed.

I won't write any more- my postings usually "kill" a thread, anyway, and I don't ever know why. That's why I have not said much of late!


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Dec 07 - 04:57 AM

Thankyou Kytrad.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: GUEST,Iwavva
Date: 21 Dec 07 - 09:12 AM

Hi I have been trying to get a copy of this book and CDs for my son for Christmas. I haven't had any luck and the publishers are now closed for Christmas.If anyone comes upon one for sale(and you have a copy already) please let me know as it will go to a very appreciate home.
Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Dec 07 - 02:57 PM

Iwavva,
I understand the book is not available anywhere, new or second-hand (strange that - when we were told how bad it was ((presumably because the author wasn't a member of the big league!!!). It remains to be seen whether it will be re-issued; I hope so; there certainly seems to be a demand for it.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim McLean
Date: 21 Dec 07 - 04:38 PM

If you are anywhere near the British Library or Cecil Sharp House you'll be able to see a copy.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 21 Dec 07 - 04:41 PM

Jim,

The review has to be read to be believed.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Big Mick
Date: 21 Dec 07 - 04:49 PM

I am so glad that our Jean showed up and got the record right. I was, in fact going to write something, but it would not have had anywhere near the detail that Jean provided. Her absolute devotion to the music and the passing of it on, will long outlive her and George, in fact all of us. What a joy to be able to call her friend!!!!

Georges photo's of Bess and Jean are absolutely wonderful. One can feel the atmosphere in the room, and wouldn't I pay great sums of money to have been sitting quietly in the corner listenin' to the chat and the songs they shared??

It is an absolute crime to not have this work in print. I will send my corresondence straightaway. I would gladly purchase a second copy if it contained even more than the stellar first printing.

I am out of touch most of the time these days, but I am glad I checked back in on this thread.

All the best and Happy Holidays to all present,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Gulliver
Date: 21 Dec 07 - 10:51 PM

The so-called review of "The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin" mentioned above was, IMHO, not a review, but a stream of invective against the author, Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, written by an extremely pompous person more concerned with scoring points against Daibhi than anything else. It was terrible-I don't know how it got into print.

Don


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Dec 07 - 03:29 AM

"It was terrible-I don't know how it got into print."
And it's far from the only one of a similar bilious nature.
Ah well - that's ambition for you!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim McLean
Date: 22 Dec 07 - 11:12 AM

I have corresponded with Professor O Croinin and found him exceedingly helpful at all times.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Dec 07 - 12:48 PM

I have read this book. I do not feel as though I knew Elizabeth Cronin.

Fred McCormick - 25.8.00.
may I state,that I disagree with the reviewers comment.
I felt that I did get to know her.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Dec 07 - 02:29 PM

"I have corresponded with Professor O Croinin and found him exceedingly helpful at all times."
Me too - so did I.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Nerd
Date: 22 Dec 07 - 02:38 PM

Just to put this in perspective, the review in question has been endlessly debated over at mustrad.co.uk, where it appeared. It did not "make it into print" because it is on a website. This means that not only was it considered reasonable to publish by Rod Stradling, the site's editor, but that Rod continues to think it is a reasonable review, or else he would remove it.

Keep in mind also that an edited version of the review, from which all the positive comments were removed, has made the rounds by email. So unless you've visited the mustrad.org.uk site, you might not have read the whole thing.

Keep in mind, too, that Fred says outright that the book and CD set is "unmissable" despite its shortcomings. The review is hardly a recommendation to avoid buying it!

Keep in mind, finally, that in the first letter to Musical Traditions defending the book against the review, John Moulden wrote: "no-one denies that the book has deficiencies. I, personally, would like to know why Dáibhí ignored or selected, some information and advice I offered him and whose inclusion would (I think) have made a better balanced and more accurate book. And there are numerous unexplained editorial inconsistencies - one of them very serious." It seems to me that even the book's defenders agree with Fred that it should have been better.

As a reviewer myself, I can see where Fred is coming from. Often when we read a book that has many, many mistakes, we begin to catalog them for ourselves, as a way of verifying: is this really worse than most books, or am I being unfair? Once that list of mistakes is made, it is tempting to mention a lot of them in the review. By any account, there are a lot of blunders in this book.

Furthermore, one of the most serious errors was that in many cases the transcription of the song in the book did not match the recording on the CD, even though it states in the book that the same performance on the CD was transcribed for the book. By mistake, and through circumstances he will not fully reveal, citing libel laws (!), Dr. O Croinin in these cases transcribed a different tape of Mrs. Cronin singing the same song. Fred had no way of knowing this, as even O Croinin was not aware the error was being made. This cast a huge doubt in Fred's mind as to whether the transcriptions were incompetent work, or whether they were conflated texts from several versions, etc.

O Croinin himself realized this was a legitimate issue, and wrote to the magazine:

"This is all very unsatisfactory I know, and your reviewer can hardly be blamed for working himself into a frenzy about the apparent disparity between texts and CDs."

Once a book creates a doubt of this magnitude, and is further riddled with numerous small errors of fact, it becomes in essence useless to the critical reader, who no longer knows whether he can trust the author. Even if the book has a lot of good information in it, the reader will not trust that information—so what's the point of reading it? Now that we know what O Croinin's error was, a large part of the doubt disappears, and we can see the small errors of fact for what they are. Consequently, we can assume O Croinin is more or less accurate a good deal of the time, and the book ceases to be useless. But Fred was writing from a point of view of understandable frustration.

Finally, keep in mind that Fred's review has pointed out many of the issues that need to be corrected for a second edition, and as such has done a very valuable service. For the publisher to cite this as a reason not to publish a corrected and expanded edition is disingenuous—indeed, that is the only way for the publisher to address and correct the errors of the first edition.

In short, even if you think Fred went overboard, try to be forgiving about it. It's likely that the second edition, if it is published, will be much better thanks to him.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Dec 07 - 03:26 PM

"Keep in mind also that an edited version of the review, from which all the positive comments were removed,"
This is patently untrue and was dealt with in the MT correspondence at the time; or are you able to provide us with the names of anybody who received those 'edited reviews'.
It would have been fully discussed had not the editor of MT exercised his prerogative and closed down the discussion with what he had earlier somewhat quaintly termed 'temporary censorship', thus protecting his reviewers from further damage.
Their behaviour on this and on the Irtrad forum (from which they had to resign) was outrageous and can be followed in full in the archives of both (can we ever forget the appeal for "a hunky collector wanted" on Mudcat, or the attacks on Tom Munnelly, John Moulden, Mary Humphreys and my wife, none of whom were involved, or even aware of the argument).
The Cronin review was on of at least four in MT which did considerable damage to traditional music and were completely unprecedented, in my experience.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Nerd
Date: 22 Dec 07 - 07:13 PM

Jim--

If it is untrue that an edited version was circulated, I apologize for saying so here. I did not get the email in question, but heard about it in the aforementioned MT correspondence.

Striking that line from the above post, I still feel Fred did his best. He may have gone overboard in the enumeration of the book's faults, but I think everyone who has written reviews can look back with regret on some of them for the same reason. I include myself in this. When writing a mixed review, one of the most difficult things to get right is the balance of praise and criticism. A review that stated: "X is a very good book," gave one paragraph on its brilliance, and then enumerated all ten of its flaws with a paragraph for each, might seem like a negative review. But the author said it was very good!

In Fred's case, he intended to point out things he thought were significant shortcomings, and several readers felt they weren't as significant as Fred did. Some letters were sent to MT to point this out. The matter should have ended there.

I didn't attack anyone, and indeed only really know one of the people named in your post: John Moulden, for whom I have nothing but high regard and respect. I think I could manage high regard and respect for all of you simultaneously, because I think this is essentially a difference of opinion about a book--it's not about some people trying to harm traditional music, or others trying to defend it. It's Fred's opinion vs. other people's, and one could argue a lifetime without resolving who is "right."

The claim that a review in a publication like MT "did considerable damage to traditional music" is essentially a wild guess. I think you're quite wrong about it, but I can't prove it any more than you can. I can say that, while you may think that folk journalists have a big impact on traditional music, I don't. I have reviewed copies of MT's CDR releases in a folk magazine that is read by more people than MT, and I've given them very positive reviews. According to Rod, not one person has bought one on the basis of my reviews. The fact is, the market for traditional music is small, and the people who make it up are unusually well-informed. I can't see anyone who was going to buy the Cronin set being put off by a review, especially one that said "the CDs are unmissable, but the book is a shambles."

One of the things that remains indisputable, however, is that Dr. O Croinin made serious editorial errors in the original edition of this book, and has admitted them. If he had not made these errors, Fred could not have enumerated them.

I know this has the potential to devolve into a flame war, which I want no part of. If anyone feels they must have the last word, even to the point of calling me names, feel free. I've admitted to being a nerd, after all! In the meantime, everyone should support the goal of getting an improved second edition of this book and CD set released.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 07 - 04:32 AM

Nerd,
You can be excused for believing in the existence of the mythical e-mail of the edited version of Fred's review, it was a figment of his invention.
To explain; I decided to challenge what I believed to be an over-indulgent and extremely unpleasant attack on what I believed to be an excellent piece of work (not perfect-nobody's work is) by somebody who was not involved in folk song, but who happened to have had a grandmother who was IMO one of the finest traditional Irish singers in living memory.
In order to challenge the (inordinately long - I think you'll agree) review, I found it necessary to create a manageable working document containing the points I intended to deal with. This document was for my use only; it was never circulated.
At one stage of my argument I found it necessary to refer to the size of Fred's original review, but inadvertently I counted the words of the working document, which Fred, quite rightly challenged. When I explained my mistake, Fred leapt on my explanation in order to claim the existence of an edited version of his review.
The editor of Musical Traditions also claimed the existence of the mythical document in an editorial, refused to publish a letter of explanation from me, and closed the correspondence. If such a version of the review ever existed apart from that in Fred McCormick's imagination, I would be fascinated to see a copy of it or to learn who received it.
I totally disagree with your assessment of the effect of such reviews as those carried by Musical Traditions.
It is difficult enough to get people to accept analysis and criticism of their work, singing, musical ability, when these criticisms are sensitively made. When made with the help of a well-honed, widely swung hatchet, as were (IMO) those I have referred to, the damage can be enormous.
I understand that following the review, Daibhi O'Cronin described the folk scene as a 'piranha pool' and, I have been told, abandoned any ideas of publishing further research work done by members of his family.
The family of one victim of an MT review considered suing the magazine   following comments on her singing, so nastily were those comments made.
When the 'Around The Hills of Clare' review was published I seriously considered putting all our work on the shelf and leaving it there for posterity to judge. Our intention to try and get access to the hand-written song books of one of the Clare singers we recorded was abandoned after the reviewer described him as "sounding like a woman". Any intentions I had of publishing our Walter Pardon interviews have been put on a very 'long finger' as they say over here.
In a world that has largely ignored traditional music it is essential that we who have chosen to be involved in it respect each other's involvement and recognise that our interests may not always coincide and our objectives quite often differ; this makes nobody wrong, just different. Fred's review of the Mrs Cronin review refers to a 'Big League' which, to me, suggests a self-appointed body of 'experts' who have all the answers. This, I believe is yet another figment of his imagination; everybody has a contribution to make - nobody has all the answers.
During the course of our challenge to the equally nasty, if not as cleverly executed MT review of 'Around The Hills of Clare', somebody criticised the reviewers own work on the Irish Folk scene. For his pains we were subjected to a stream of invective 9signed and anonymous), a threat of legal proceedings and on one occasion, a threat of physical violence (accessible on various web-site archives, or, in the case of the legal threat, in e-mail form).
These people, like all bullies, physical or otherwise, appear to follow the standard pattern of being incapable of receiving what they choose to dish out.
In my forty odd years of involvement in traditional music I have never encountered such behaviour to fellow-folk-enthusiasts - have you?
One correspondent to Musical Traditions totally independent of any of the protagonists, describes one of the reviews as a custard pie containing vitriol - an excellent summation, I thought.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Folkiedave
Date: 23 Dec 07 - 05:19 AM

Those wishing to read other replies to Mustrad reviews should be referred to Jon Boden's and Katie Howson's comments on the letters pages of Mustrad.

Go here and click down the left hand side to Jan - Aug 07.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Richard Spencer
Date: 23 Dec 07 - 11:08 AM

Mine were the custard pies, Jim. I felt equally amazed and appalled by the review of the Elizabeth Cronin cds and Around the Hills of Clare.
My point at the time (and it applies to the reviews of both of these excellent productions) was that both reviewers concentrated at extraordinary and vindictive length on minor errors in the supporting documentation of purely academic interest, and thus their limited favourable comments on the wondeful singing seemed, at the best, grudging.
Both reviews did nothing at all for the listener or singer of traditional song, and I fear did even less for Mustrad which has been a much quieter place since.
Richard Spencer


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Dec 07 - 11:55 AM

I agree with Richard Spencer.he says here
:My point at the time (and it applies to the reviews of both of these excellent productions) was that both reviewers concentrated at extraordinary and vindictive length on minor errors in the supporting documentation of purely academic interest, and thus their limited favourable comments on the wondeful singing seemed, at the best, grudging.
Both reviews did nothing at all for the listener or singer of traditional song, and I fear did even less for Mustrad which has been a much quieter place since.
I dont think that either of the two reviews,has helped much to promote the singing of Elizabeth Cronin,or the singers on Around the hills of Clare,They appear to have destroyed any trust Daibhi O Cronin,had in the folk scene.This is very sad. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Dec 07 - 03:48 PM

Richard:
Thank you for your support at what was a somewhat depressing time for us. It was one of the reasons we decided not to pick our ball up and go home.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Richard Spencer
Date: 24 Dec 07 - 09:11 AM

Jim (and Pat too),
You are most welcome. "Hills of Clare" is a fantastic piece of work, and it really annoyed me to see it belittled.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Big Mick
Date: 24 Dec 07 - 09:13 AM

Richard Spencer, you are a rare wise man. Thanks for the comments which capture perfectly the sentiments of many here.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 Dec 07 - 12:24 PM

A musing upon the subject of criticism: Flaws in books and recordings certainly deserve to be pointed out (folk music has suffered greatly in the past from the lack of such criticism). This criticism, though, should be tempered with a realization of what the book or recording provides; even a lousy recording of an otherwise unavailable singer is a helluva lot better than none at all.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Dec 07 - 03:42 PM

I see from a letter in fRoots web magazine that there is no call for re-publishing The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin as everybody who wants a copy already has one - and the published price for a large format book of 300-plus pages and 2 CDs was too prohibitive anyway.
Seems like a strange way to persuade a publisher to re-issue one of the most important works in several decades - but maybe the writer of the letter has a cunning plan - what do you think?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Dec 07 - 05:06 PM

Geoff Wallis said this,quote:

   



Yep, that was a bad omission, Vic, but actually 'The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin' was a large-format book with two CDs contained in cases inside the rear cover.

The book's first print of 1,000 copies sold out, as did the subsequent reprint of the same quantity. I don't think that reviews, either good or bad, had an effect on the book's sales since 2,000 probably (and sadly) represents the entire extent of the Irish market for such works. Overseas sales would probably have been tiny since the book cost approaching €30 and p&p would have been prohibitive to many buyers (it was a weighty collection).

From soundings I've made it's unlikely that the book will be reissued by its original publisher. This has nothing to do with reviews, negative or otherwise, but the publisher's belief that there is not a substantial market in Ireland to warrant its republication.

Some enterprising soul might be tempted to look at the possibility of reissuing the recordings since, as far as I'm aware, all fall outside copyright restrictions in Ireland and the UK. However, another option might simply be to upload Mrs Cronin's songs in the form of a torrent or via a site such as Dimeadozen. This is tricky territory and I'd appreciate others' views.

Best wishes for the New Year,

Geoff:
endof quote.
Jim Carroll,you could be right.
my view is that this is tricky territory,and enterprising souls should examine their consciences before doing anything like this,particuarly if they intend to make money out of it.
To do so is less ethical than the amateur recordings made at folk clubs which are not normally for resale and are normally made with the performers consent,perhaps they should ask Daibhi o Cronin first.
Jim, by the way I am still receiving dubious emails at my website,the last one corrected my spelling of Packie Russell,and Mary Macnamara and then informed me, I didnt know anything about Irish concertina players,after recommending Chris Droney ,Noel Hill,Kate Mcnamara,Niall Vallelly,MrsCrotty,PackieRussell,
Mary Macnamara.
I have subsequently been corrected on my spelling of Daibhi o Cronin,over on the froots board ,must be a coincidence...


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Dec 07 - 06:21 PM

€30 = $44(US) = 22GBPounds

Hardly an exorbitant price for a book plus 2 CDs

BTW- I(CAMSCO Music) have written to Daibhi o Cronin several times to seek permission to publish the CDs. No response.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Dec 07 - 07:11 PM

Assuming that the email I quoted earlier was, as stated, circulated at Dáibhí Ó Cróinín's behest, then I can only assume that he wants (quite reasonably) the recordings to be reissued with the (revised) book, or not at all. The original price was perfectly reasonable and, had I not been flat broke at the time, I'd have bought a copy there and then; in full knowledge of the acknowledged failings of the original publication.

If Mr Ó Cróinín has some stratagem in mind here, it isn't immediately obvious what that might be. Four Courts is an academic publisher with no previous experience in the field of folk music studies, and probably feel that they took quite a risk in publishing the collection in the first place; that they sold out two editions of 1,000 is actually quite impressive.

Geoff Wallis mentioned in the fRoots discussion that Dick Miles refers to (Best Ballad Singers Ever! ) '2,000 probably (and sadly) represents the entire extent of the Irish market for such works.' I doubt if he's far from the mark, there; any collection of folk songs, text or audio or a combination of the two, is unlikely to sell that much nowadays in Ireland or Britain, so in fact The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin seems to have sold unusually well, all in despite of one unfavourable review. A new edition would certainly sell further copies (as I've said, I want one, and I am far from alone in that) but whether that would run to a thousand (probably the smallest run any commercial publisher would consider viable) I wouldn't care to guess.

As for Geoff's suggestion that the sound recordings 'fall outside copyright restrictions in Ireland and the UK', I do agree that this seems surprising and unlikely. If he and Dick Miles would resolve their personal differences privately, as Ian Anderson at fRoots has suggested in a part of the exchange not quoted by Dick, we might be able to continue this discussion without too many more irrelevant distractions.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Dec 07 - 04:01 AM

Have had numerous enquiries regarding the availability in the US and the UK, so don't know how well-covered they were in the original runs. Judging by our experiences with 'From Puck To Appleby' probably quite limited.
Cap'n,
Thanks for posting the full correspondence - wonder what the preceding "bad omission" was.
I think you will find that those who dwell on spelling errors and typos have little else to offer the world - especially the ones who write about the "Oirish".
As for your poisoned-pen letters - what can you say,; "takes all sorts"?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Gillan
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 09:07 AM

How do all,

Bit late to this I know, but Four Courts Press have indeed confirmed that there are no plans to reissue the book/CDs. I've been trying to get hold of a copy, sadly without success, so any pointers would be much appreciated. I live in the UK but will happily shop anywhere in the village.

And if in the meantime some kind soul can help with copies of the two CDs that would be grand. I've a few things here that might be of interest by way of a trade/thank you.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 01:25 PM

For the record,

I am one of the people who responded negatively to the review at the time of its appearance.

My email to Rod was not "published" nor did I expect it to be nor should it have been.

I have a serious problem with pointlessly negative reviews of traditional musicians.

The Musical Traditions "magazine" is not the first I have stopped reading because of them.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:08 PM

Russ-
The review was not a "negative view of a traditional musician"--it was a negative view of some sloppy research and writing. And I agree that the tone was unnecessarily harsh....but the objections stated were certainly valid ones.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:55 AM

Dick,
Whether or not the objections were valid ones is a matter of opinion and the subject of much debate (to the great annoyance of the reviewer).
The review may not have been aimed directly at Mrs Cronin, but she, and others, became what is now referred to as 'collateral damage'.
The fact that it was one of at least four similarly bilious reviews which were (probably coincidentally) all aimed at Irish publications led some people here to think that there was another agenda in play.
None of these did traditional music nor Musical Traditions any favours; as for the reputations of the two reviewers - they have now become by-words for such reviewing - in Ireland anyway.
Hopefully we have seen the back of such behaviour.   
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 03:27 AM

PS
Bywords-rather like Thatcherism or Rachmanism or McCarthyism
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: MartinRyan
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 04:20 AM

I still see copies of the book/CD occasionally in bookshops. If they're still around, I'll pick 'em up and sell 'em on.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: Jim Gillan
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 04:37 AM

How do!

Apologies if this (or something like it from me) is already in the Mudcat ether, but I'm a) new to this and b)a PC duffer.

Anyway, Four Courts have told me that they have no plans to reissue The Songs of Elizabeth Cronin. I also contacted Prof O'Cronin, who wrote that he indeed hopes to produce a revised edition, but he is real busy with other projects, so there's nothing either soon or definite.

So if anyone does come across a spare copy I'm definitely interested. My email is jimros.gillan@tiscali.co.uk For sure, if I find anything I'll post the details. In the meantime, if some kind soul has a copy and can burn the two CDs for me I'll happily work something out with you.

Best to all.

Jim Gillan


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 07:46 AM

I agree with Jim Carroll.


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Subject: RE: Songs of Elizabeth Cronin - to be reissued
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:55 AM

Dick,

Thanks for the response.
Point well taken.

But I also think that Jim's mention of collateral damage is a good one.

But...
My wording was intended to be precise.
I do not have a problem with negative reviews, per se,
or negativity in reviews, per se,
or even reviews, per se.

My problem is with reviews that I perceive as pointlessly negative.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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